Briana Heaney Published

After Death Of Boone County Girl, Gov. Jim Justice Faces Questions On Transparency

Two women wearing a navy blazer and a teal blazer, testify before a wooden podium. Behind them is a red wall and a screen showing charts and graphs.
Cynthia Persily, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Human Services, speaks from a podium, with Commissioner of the Bureau for Medical Services, Cindy Beane also testifying.
Will Price/WV Legislative Photography

After the death of 14-year-old Kyneddi Miller, who was discovered by police in a near skeletal state on the bathroom floor, questions about what could have been done to prevent this are swirling. 

State officials, as well as members of the media, have requested information from the state to find out what was done — and what wasn’t — by state agencies charged with protecting the welfare of children in the state. Yet little to no information has been released, despite FOIA requests. Journalists with West Virginia Watch received documents that were nearly entirely redacted

Now the Justice administration has said it is exploring ways to legally provide better information to the public. 

“I’ll absolutely direct them to follow the law. You know, without any question,” Justice said. 

Cynthia Persily, cabinet secretary of the Department of Human Services said that the administration is also looking to other states to understand their transparency practices. Persily advised journalists and members of the public to obtain and use the critical accident report that is filed annually. 

“That report, of course, has not been reported on in the media,” Persily said. “And we would just encourage everyone who wants to have information about child fatalities in the state to look at that report and the information is contained there.”

However, that report shows limited details on CPS actions, responsibility, and culpability. The current report does not have any information of the death of Kyneddi Miller.